Why Observe Children?
• Oldest method of conducting research.
• Most of what is known about child growth
and development is the result of some form
• Data gathered from formal observation has
been used to establish developmental
• To decide which interpretation is most
accurate, you need to observe the same
child on several occasions over a period
• Information must be non-evaluative
• Labeling should be avoided.
• Simplest form
• Step One – describe behavior in detail as it
• Completed during the actual observation.
• Step Two – interpreting, occurs after the
observation takes place.
• Specific behaviors to look for while
observing a child.
• You can quickly record the presence
or absence of a behavior.
• Used a record the degree to which a
quality or trait is present.
• Easy to do and requires little time to
General Tips to Follow
• Read through the entire form before you
• Observe a child in many situations.
• Avoid talking to children or other individuals
during the observations.
Seven Steps to an Observation
1. Determine the goal/Purpose of the
*Length of time
*Who is involved
3. Watch the activity-Do not participate.
4. Sit in one place.
5. Record only what you observe-not
what you feel or think.
6. Watch only one person.
7. Read through the observation before
Descriptive & Interpretive
• Descriptive • Interpretive
• Objective • Explain the
statements observed behavior
and give it meaning.
• Describe only
observable actions • Need to use the
• Recorded growth and
information is non- development to
evaluative make the
Descriptive or Interpretive?
1. Jose opened the door and ran outside.
2. Mark left the block building area
because he wasn’t interested.
3.Mrs. Thomas, the teacher, called each
4. When the bunny was taken out of the
box, the children were so excited that
5. The teacher aide said, “I like how
quietly you are sitting.”
6. The volunteer asked each child to name
7. May cried because she could not speak
8. Kris hit Jane because she was in the
9. Wendy tipped over her glass of milk.
10. Maurice put the rabbit in the cage,
shut the door, and closed the lock.
11.Tunde walked across the room and sat next
12.Sandy was confused by the teacher’s
directions so she took another cookie.